New Mexico Assessment Letter

June 15, 2007

The Honorable Veronica C. Garcia
Secretary of Education
State of New Mexico Public Education Department
300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
Dear Secretary Garcia:

Thank you for submitting additional assessment materials for peer review under the standards and assessment requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). We appreciate the efforts required to prepare for the latest peer review that occurred in March 2007.

Based on the recommendations of the peer reviewers and the evidence you have provided to date, the status of New Mexico’s standards and assessment system is Approval Expected. This status indicates that a State administered an assessment system in grades 3-8 and high school in 2006-07 that the evidence to date suggests is fully compliant with the statutory and regulatory requirements. There are certain elements, however, that are not yet complete due to the nature of assessment development. Please note that full approval of the New Mexico standards and assessment system is dependent upon whether the additional evidence submitted for peer review meets the NCLB standards and assessment requirements.

New Mexico must provide the Department with a timeline for completing the evidence needed to satisfy the remaining requirements, as indicated in the enclosure to this letter. Please note that, because there are elements of New Mexico’s system that is not yet complete, we will place a condition on New Mexico’s fiscal year 2007 Title I, Part A grant award, which will continue until New Mexico submits the required evidence and receives full approval of its standards and assessment system.

The Department remains committed to working with New Mexico to meet the requirements of NCLB and to raising the performance of all children. Toward that end, let me reiterate my earlier offer of technical assistance to you. If you have any additional questions or want to request technical assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Grace Ross ( or Abigail Potts ( of my staff.


Kerri L. Briggs, Ph.D.
Acting Assistant Secretary


cc: Governor Bill Richardson



  1. Evidence of approval of the final alternate academic achievement standards, including evidence of the approval of its final alternate academic achievement level descriptors and cut-scores.
  2. Documentation that the State reported separately the number and percent of those students with disabilities assessed against alternate achievement standards, those assessed on an alternate assessment against grade-level standards, and those included in the regular assessment (including those administered with appropriate accommodations).
  3. Evidence that the State has documented the involvement of diverse stakeholders in the development of its alternate achievement standards.


  1. Completed 2007 NMAPA Technical Report including all the documentation in the outline and reports on the referenced validity studies.
  2. For the alternate assessments, evidence that the State has provided documentation of the standard setting process including a description of the selection of judges, methodology employed, and final results.
  3. Clarify how the State evaluates inter-rater agreement and resolves disagreements for each test administration.


  1. A plan and a timeline for the alternate assessment that addresses the gaps identified in the alignment study.


  1. Evidence that the State’s reporting system must facilitate appropriate, credible, and defensible interpretation and use of its alternate assessment data.
  2. Evidence that the State has provided for the production of individual interpretive, descriptive, and [non-clinical] diagnostic reports that indicate relative strengths and instructional needs:
  1. Evidence that these individual student reports express results in terms of the State’s achievement standards rather than numerical values such as scale scores or percentiles.
  2. Evidence that these individual student reports provide information for parents, teachers, and principals to help them understand and address a student’s specific academic needs. This information must be displayed in a format and language that is understandable to parents, teachers, and principals, for example through use of descriptors that describe what students know and can do at different performance levels. The reports must be accompanied by interpretive guidance for these audiences; and
  3. Evidence that the State ensures that these individual student reports will be delivered to parents, teachers, and principals as soon as possible after the assessment is administered.

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